Every time I go to Paris myself, I gravitate towards the tower. This might be because the first time I was there, when I was eight, Dad wouldn’t let us go up. He was irritated because they wanted to charge me full fare! So now I don’t hesitate to pay the full fee—wait, I pay the cheap fee for walking to the second stage. (There’s an elevator, but that costs more.) To go to the very top, you have to pay extra. That’s okay. It’s worth it.
I love walking up to the first and second stage because it’s so much fun to see all the views along the way. There are also posters with information about the engineer, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. At first the monument was criticized. It was going to ruin the Parisian landscape. It was going to cause Paris to be a laughingstock. As Socrates said, if you don’t want critics, never do anything at all!
I’ve had the pleasure of going to the tower with a number of friends and even my sister. Once we get to the top, we don’t want to leave. The views of the Arc du Triomphe and the Seine are splendid. Watching people get to the top for the first time is splendid too. You’ll see small kids shouting with glee and honeymooners paying for champagne. It’s a cultural experience.
I’ve always loved to climb up things and get to the top of tall structures, so my love of the tower is natural. But somehow it represents more than just a cool place with fun views. For me it symbolizes the romance of travel. Paris is my second favorite city (first, Venice). The tower itself symbolizes the lovely opportunities I’ve had to visit the city. Whether I spend my time in the wonderful art museums or simply walking around Notre Dame or around Montmartre, I’ve always enjoyed visiting the city.
If you’re headed to Paris this summer, my advice is to include the Eiffel Tower on your itinerary. (Rick Steves has good advice for getting tickets ahead of time to avoid the lines.) Some of you might not like it. It might seem touristy (well, yes, it’s full of tourists), but it’s also a memorable Parisian experience.
On my Pinterest Paris site, I have bunches of pictures of the tower. I can’t help myself!